Presentation on theme: "Pine Valley Retreat Dushko Dragojlovic May 28-31, 2010 Apostolic Christian Church of La Puente 701 South Fourth Avenue La Puente, California 91746 (626)"— Presentation transcript:
Pine Valley Retreat Dushko Dragojlovic May 28-31, 2010 Apostolic Christian Church of La Puente 701 South Fourth Avenue La Puente, California 91746 (626) 330-5425 Resisting the Seduction of a Fallen World
Pine Valley Retreat – May 28-31, 2010 Introduction “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world” [1 John 2:15a] What does it mean for a Christian, what does it mean for me, not to love the world? Does it mean I can’t watch MTV or go to an R-rated movie? Do I have to give up my favorite TV-shows? Is it OK to watch a movie as long as I fast-forward the sex scene? How much violence & language is too much? How do I know if I’m spending too much time playing video games or watching YouTube clips online? Can a Christian try to make lots of money, own a second home, drive a nice car, and enjoy the luxuries of modern life? How do I know if I’m guilty of the sin of worldliness? You may have questions like these; but maybe, if you’re honest, you don’t really want the answer The idea of “resisting the seduction of a fallen world” may sound to you like something out of an “Amish Book” Is this subject making you feel uncomfortable? Is it really that important? 2 5 May 2015 DD
Pine Valley Retreat – May 28-31, 2010 What can we learn from the past? 5 May 2015 DD 3 “For Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world” [2 Tim 4:10] Who is Demas? He was a close friend and traveling companion of Apostle Paul Participated in spreading of the gospel and strengthening the fledgling church Left home and family to hit the long, dusty and dangerous road You could call Demas “a model Christian” What happened to Demas? Before Demas deserted, he drifted! It was a gradual weakening, a subtle contaminating, and eventual conforming to this world A love for the world begins in the soul. It begins with a dull conscience; sin does not grieve you like it once did. Passion for the Savior begins to cool. Excitement lessens for participating in the local church. Eagerness to evangelize start to wane. Growth in godliness slows to a crawl. So, are you drifting? The distinctions between Christian and worldly conduct are becoming blurry
Pine Valley Retreat – May 28-31, 2010 What is the greatest challenge facing Christians today? 5 May 2015 DD 4 “Today, the greatest challenge facing American evangelicals is not persecution from the world, but seduction by the world” [ C. J. Mahaney] Charles Spurgeon, writing 150 years ago speaks poignantly to the problem of the church today: “I believe that one reason why the church of God at this present moment has so little influence over the world is because the world has so much influence over the church” The greater our difference from the world, the more true our testimony for Christ – and the more potent our witness against sin The words in 1 John 2:15 do not simply represent a “Do Not Enter” sign They are not legalistic restrictions from an irritated God who doesn’t want us to enjoy ourselves. They are not relics of a bygone era, irrelevant for us today. They are given for our good, to protect us from sin and its consequences The author of this book, John, is not calling for some kind of monastic separation from the world. We need to keep in mind that the “world” does not refer to the created order or economic and social structure of society.
Pine Valley Retreat – May 28-31, 2010 So what is the “world” we are forbidden to love? 5 May 2015 DD 5 The “world” we are not to love is the organized system of human civilization that is actively hostile to God and alienated from God. The world God forbids us to love is the fallen world, yet this sinful and fallen world is right in our face Our affluent and technologically advanced society brings the world to our doorstep, into our homes, into our very presence We are saturated with media – bombarded by images on television and movie screens, and by music on our iPods We have unlimited access – text messages on our cell phones, Internet access on our computers and hand-held devices We enjoy countless options in clothes to wear, cars to buy, vacations to take, entertainment to view, music to listen to Obviously, while these things are not inherently evil, so often they are vehicles of a fallen world They deliver endless opportunities to pursue pleasure without regard to God and His word; “Endless opportunities to be seduced by this fallen world”
Pine Valley Retreat – May 28-31, 2010 Defining Worldliness 5 May 2015 DD 6 Worldliness, then, is a love for this fallen world; it is “to gratify and exalt oneself to the exclusion of God” Does this description sound familiar? Does it describe you? What dominates your mind and stirs your heart? Is it discontentment with your life? Are you longing for earthly pleasures? Does outward prosperity appeal to you more than growth in godliness? Do you relate to God as if He exists to further your selfish ambitions or are you convinced that you exist to glorify Him? Do you covet the esteem and crave the approval of those around you? Do you go to great lengths to avoid looking foolish for your Christian faith? Do you consider present material results more important than eternal reward? These are tough questions to determine if you’ve been infected by the world Mention “worldliness”, and you are sure to encounter opposing views among Christians – the conflict often reveals a wrong focus on externals
Pine Valley Retreat – May 28-31, 2010 Worldliness Cont’d 5 May 2015 DD 7 Some people define worldliness as living outside a specific set of rules or conservative standards If you listen to music with a certain beat, dress in fashionable clothes, watch movies with a certain rating, or indulge in certain luxuries of modern society, surely you must be worldly! Others, irritated and repulsed by rules that seem arbitrary, react to definitions of worldliness, assuming it’s impossible to define They think legalism will inevitably be the result, so we shouldn’t try Both views are wrong – by focusing exclusively on externals or dismissing the importance of externals, we’ve missed the point John takes the issue inside of our hearts, for this is where the worldliness is Worldliness does not consist in outward behavior, though our actions can certainly be an evidence of worldliness within The root cause of worldliness is internal, not environmental We must learn to discern worldliness where it lurks – inside our hearts
Pine Valley Retreat – May 28-31, 2010 The antidote to Worldliness 5 May 2015 DD 8 The antidote to worldliness is the cross of Jesus Christ Only through the power of the cross of Christ can we successfully resist the seduction of the fallen world The cross is the attraction that draws our hearts away from the empty and deadly pleasures of worldliness Do you want the world to lose its appeal? Then crowd out worldliness by filling your affections with the cross of Christ Crucify the world as a dead and undesirable thing by meditating on the love of the Savior; resist the bait of the world by gazing at the wondrous cross But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world [Gal 6:14] Charles Spurgeon urged us to “dwell where the cries of Calvary can be heard” What should consume our thoughts and affections is not resisting worldliness but the glory and grace of God revealed at the cross Jesus Christ is most important. We must fight worldliness because it dulls our affections for Christ and distracts our attention from Him
Pine Valley Retreat – May 28-31, 2010 So what is the “world” we are encouraged to love? 5 May 2015 DD 9 The conclusion of the Bible unveils the final realization of God’s purposes. The redemption of man and creation accomplished by Christ on the cross will be finally and fully revealed. God’s people are gathered. The gathering of the elect before the throne of God from every corner of the globe [Rev 7:9-10] God’s creation is renewed. The “new heaven and new earth” of Rev 21 depicts the restoration of all things. God will eradicate sin and all its destructive effects from the entire creation. Creation itself will be restored to its original goodness. God dwells among His people. In the New Jerusalem, there will be no temple, “for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb” [Rev 21:22]. In the descent of the New Jerusalem, there’s joining together of heaven and earth, so that man – forgiven, restored, and glorified – can dwell face-to-face with his Creator. The goal of salvation is realized: God dwells with His redeemed people in a renewed creation. Equipped with these fundamentals of a biblical world-view, let us consider specific God- given tasks that give substance to our interaction with the world in which we now live
Pine Valley Retreat – May 28-31, 2010 Enjoy the World 5 May 2015 DD 10 As we already stated, the world we’re forbidden to love [1 John 2:15a] is not the earthly creation but the rebellious, independent, God-rejecting mindset of those who inhabit this creation Creation is God’s Witness. Everywhere we look, the world around us bears witness to the Creator, who brought it all into existence [Ps 19:1-4] Created things are ambassadors of glory from God to His people Creation is God’s Gift. If creation is both God’s witness and gift, we have the responsibility of studying and enjoying the world around us In experiencing God’s revelation in nature deepens and expands our understanding of the truth of Scripture The intricate complexity of a cell under a microscope dazzles my imagination and deepens my appreciation of God’s wisdom The ear-numbing roar of a crashing waterfall confronts me with God’s power The serenity of motionless clouds on a still summer day fills me with God’s peace Watching a sunset after heavy rain enriches my grasp of God’s beauty The more we learn of God’s world and his works, the more cause we have to delight in God and express His praise [Ps 104:24-25, 33]
Pine Valley Retreat – May 28-31, 2010 Engage the World 5 May 2015 DD 11 As those uniquely created in the image of God, mankind has received the privilege of filling and governing the natural world [Gen 1:28] A biblical worldview sees every moment of life lived under the sovereign grace of God and the enabling power of the Holy Spirit Work is part of God’s good creation, a noble calling that reflects the dignity of bearing the image of the creator; as a result, our job isn’t something to be endured until we can really serve God – it’s serving God Work is a way we imitate God, a way we serve others Martin Luther observed that a person’s vocation is a “mask of God” Home. A Christian has many callings in various dimensions of life, and none is more important than the home / family Fatherhood or motherhood isn’t a mere biological function or task Being a son or daughter is a calling from God All of life affords one long opportunity to experience God, to serve God, to be used by God, as we receive from Him gifts & callings for His glory
Pine Valley Retreat – May 28-31, 2010 Evangelize the World 5 May 2015 DD 12 The privilege of evangelism has both an individual and a corporate dimension; the last recorded words of Christ endow every Christian with a noble identity and high calling “You will be my witness” [Acts 1:8] The word “witness” simply speaks of one who provides testimony of something they have seen or experienced; in the court of law, one that takes the stand, speaks the truth We do not need to be brilliant, dynamic, or persuasive – we simply need to testify faithfully of what Jesus Christ has done to save sinners like us The story of the Bible reminds us that God is not simply saving individuals but gaining a people for Himself [1 Pet 2:9] As people called out of a fallen world, living transformed lives with transcendent values, the church displays the character of God, illustrates the power of God, and exemplifies the saving purposes of God. We’re to be salt & light in our communities [Mat 5:13-14]. Our daily lives in all their variety – vocation, relationships, study, community involvement, leisure – have the potential, when pursued for God’s glory, to demonstrate something of the gospel and its effects Our deeds may adorn the gospel message but they must not be confused with it We should remain clear where our hope lies: Christ alone
Pine Valley Retreat – May 28-31, 2010 The World and the Cross 5 May 2015 DD 13 Enjoying the world, engaging the world, evangelizing the world – all are ways by which God calls us to be “In the World but not of the World” So how do we avoid worldliness while living a physical existence in a physical world that God created? The intent of this forum has sought to navigate between the two poles Most of us tend to gravitate toward one or the other of these aspects Some have a very strict spiritual preoccupation; spirituality = self-denial Others relish life in this world; unrestrained and untempered (carnal Christians?) For Paul, the cross was the existence-altering reality [Gal 6:14; Phil 1:21] The cross tells me who I am. Apart from grace, doomed for God’s wrath The cross interprets the world I inhabit. God’s plan is to restore it. The cross gives my life purpose. To glorify God and reflect His character. What part does the cross play in your life? When we see our lives in light of what Jesus Christ accomplished on the cross, we won’t be enamored with a fallen world that opposes God nor will we ignore the world May we enjoy God’s gifts, fulfill His purpose, see the gospel proclaimed & God glorified
Pine Valley Retreat – May 28-31, 2010 Closing Comments 5 May 2015 DD 14 The primary objective of this Forum was to increase our awareness of dangers and subtleness of the “seduction of a fallen world” It is also obvious that while on this earth, we will be facing constant tensions between spiritual and physical pursuits [Gal 5:17] Our focus must remain on the cross and Jesus Christ [Phil 1:21] Q & A Time Attached list of questions is for a deeper personal introspection
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